There are so many factors to creating a good story for a writer to consider. Strong characters, showing not telling, and writing for a specific target audience are some of them. But what about the overall plot? Can a novice writer focus on the other parts of a great story, only to overlook a key element? When in the middle of revisions, do you sometimes come across one of these situations?
The Run Around...does your plot seem to go in all different directions or even take you in circles until you are left with a dizzying headache? Readers need to know there is a beginning, middle, and eventual end to a story. It's one thing to take them on an adventure and quite another to lead them on a wild goose chase where they get lost along the way.
Playing Dead...is your overall plot so boring and slow that it simply dies somewhere along the way? Readers need to be fully engaged in a story. From the first sentence to the last, a writer's challenge is to draw their audience into the story and keep the reader on the edge of their seat while they wonder what will happen next.
A strong plot is just as vital to a story as an engaging main character or active dialogue. It is the foundation which holds all the pieces together. Without it, a writer might be able to finish that manuscript but it will never make it past the slush pile. With it, it's amazing what great feats that story will actually be able to accomplish...